About us

Artists in the Black (AITB) is a legal service for Indigenous artists, communities and arts organisations. It is operated by the Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law), the national community legal centre for the arts.

The name “Artists in the Black” is a play on the expression to be “in the black”, meaning to be financially profitable and not in debt, rather than being “in the red”. This name encapsulates the nature of this service, which helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to be “in the black” through access to culturally appropriate legal advice, information and education about their rights so that they may gain financially from their artworks.

AITB provides access to legal advice and information in a culturally appropriate way. We are here to help you.
AITB aims to:

  • Increase access by Indigenous artists, art organisations and Indigenous communities to legal advice on arts law issues, including Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP).
  • Increase access to legal information about arts law issues and develop appropriate publications.  Increase understanding and awareness of Indigenous artists and communities of arts law issues through an education programme.
  • Provide informed advocacy work on ICIP issues and other arts law issues affecting the Indigenous community.
  • Develop arts-specific law expertise within the Indigenous community.

We look to forward to working in partnership with you to achieve a greater level of understanding and recognition of the rights of Indigenous artists.


Arts Law has been providing legal services to the arts community since 1983. However, when we looked at the rip-offs and exploitation of Indigenous artists still occurring, the case for a specialised service for Indigenous artists was overwhelming. Since the introduction of the AITB program in 2004, the legal service provision to the Indigenous community now comprises between 15-20% of Arts Law’s legal work. Arts Law will continue to develop the AITB program through consultation with the Indigenous community.